Theoretical and experimental petrology

In geomaterials research, we focus on small-scale structures and micro-chemical patterns. Crystal defects, grain and phase boundaries, crystal lattice orientations, and micro-chemical zoning provide insights into processes that occur on the atomic or molecular level and control the kinetics of mineral reactions, crystallization from melt, and the behavior of minerals and rocks. These processes govern the evolution of microstructures and textures and thus shape the "memory" of minerals and rocks. In addition, they determine how and at what rates mineral, magma and rock properties change in response to external influences, potentially generating feedback effects in geodynamic processes. Both reading the petrogenetic information stored in minerals and rocks and understanding the feedback between material properties and geodynamics is the target area of theoretical and experimental petrology. In laboratory experiments mineral reactions and rock crystallization are simulated at relevant pressures and temperatures. Experimental run products are characterized using instrumental analysis with a focus on high spatial resolution techniques such as electron and ion beam techniques, in addition to X-ray imaging to access essential 3D information. Micro-chemical patterns, microstructures and textures are interpreted based on quantitative thermodynamic and kinetic models and numerical simulations.